Contribution of AKEL Cyprus at the 21th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties
“100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist International. The Fight for Peace and Socialism Continues!”
Izmir, Turkey, October 2019
On behalf of the Central Committee of AKEL, we greet the 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. We convey the comradely greetings from the leadership, militants and members of AKEL to all the Communist and Workers’ Parties who are present here, to all Communists around the world, to all fighters for peace and socialism. We express our gratitude to the Communist Party of Turkey for hosting us and, but also the Communist Party of Greece, which is a co-organizer of this year’s Meeting.
On the occasion of our presence here, we feel the need to express AKEL’s unreserved appreciation towards the Communist Party of Turkey for its consistent solidarity with the struggle of the people of Cyprus against the 45-year occupation of our homeland by the Turkish army which is keeping our island and people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, divided. We extend a warm greeting to all communists of Turkey and through you to the whole of the working class and people of your country. Nothing divides the people of Cyprus and the people of Turkey. The enemy of our peoples – of the two communities in Cyprus too – is imperialism, NATO and nationalism.
At the same time, we express our appreciation for the struggle that the CP of Turkey is waging all these years to point out to the people of Turkey the real nature of the Turkish government’s involvement in the crisis in Syria and, in general, in the foreign imperialist intervention in the neighboring country. All the Communist Parties around the world know from their own experience how much vigor and patience it takes to go against the current of nationalism that smears as “traitors” all those revealing the class interests that lie behind government policies and corresponding geopolitical policies.
We believe that at this current juncture the 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties should be a podium where the solidarity of the international communist movement with the people of Syria and our demand for an end to the war, the Turkish invasion and all foreign interventions must be heard loud and clear in every corner of the earth, with one voice.
The 21st International Meeting of CWP’s is being held at a time when the planet is really seething with contradictions, conflicts and rivalries. Not only is capitalism not overcoming the crisis, but – as it always does every time – is preparing for the next one. It is no coincidence that this year the leading echelons of international economic institutions are revising their forecasts for growth for a downward spiral to be registered. Everything points to the global economy taking the path of a corresponding slowdown. This means that a new attack on the peoples of the world is imminent with the imposition of anti-social and anti-labour measures, attacks on social gains, more privatizations, along with a greater destruction of nature and the planet.
All the major problems of our era have their roots, whether directly or indirectly, in the system itself and in its functioning, as well as in the pursuit of the maximization of profit. Climate change, the ongoing wars, the nuclear nightmare and the monster of fascism are all products of a system which all together, or each consequence on its own, can lead to the destruction of human civilization.
There is an explanation for the current escalation of competition between the imperialist centres of the world for the control of energy sources, the routes for transporting energy and for the geo-strategic control of regions and markets. The relative fall that began to be recorded a few years ago in the G7 countries’ share of world GDP, in conjunction with the gradual transfer of capital, trade and industrial production from the West to Asia over recent years, signals a path of reconfigurations in the world capitalist system.
Therefore, the strategy of the US is to defend their dominance over other emerging centres of the world and primarily China. This has led to a new phase of the US’ economic-political and military aggression. This is precisely what the Trump administration expresses, whose election must not be perceived as some electoral accident, but as a strategic choice made by the American system which at this stage is demanding the implementation of specific policies: a return to economic protectionism and the use of trade as a weapon against competing rival centres and at the same time, the “disengagement” of the US from the obligations and restrictions that the international security system and international conditions has imposed.
This is the reason why the US has withdrawn from the US-USSR Nuclear Arms Control Treaty, from the Nuclear Agreement on Iran, the UN Migration Pact, the Climate Change Agreement, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights Council and possibly from the Open Skies Treaty too as they are proceeding to take inflammatory actions in the Middle East in defence of Israel; to take new aggressive actions against Cuba, Venezuela and Latin America as a whole, but also deeper economic and military involvement in Southeast Asia. Despite secondary differences on tactical issues, the block of US, NATO and EU is continuing its strategy for the geopolitical encirclement of Russia and China, which are now reacting accordingly.
The most dangerous and explosive expression of these developments is the militarization of the planet which is now assuming uncontrollable dimensions. Last year, global military spending increased by more than 2% to $ 1.82 trillion. At the same time, the nuclear doctrine of the US points to the danger of nuclear destruction returning. The whole planet must know that the United States so far are refusing to commit themselves to a “no first use” policy, namely that they will never use nuclear weapons first. At the same time, they are modernizing their nuclear arsenal, making it absolutely clear that they will use nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear threats and against their infrastructures.
The EU continues its relentless ongoing path of militarization and coupling with NATO, focusing on forging military structures and investing in the weapons war industry, while its most powerful member states are leading the way in the selling arms and weapons to dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and warring states.
Perhaps the most dangerous of the new trends in this field is the escalating competition for the introduction of new technologies, robotization, autonomous weapons and artificial intelligence in the military industry. This will irreversibly change the nature of wars and conflicts, relations between states and the future of humanity.
All of these elements and trends are identified and concentrated in an explosive mixture here in our troubled neighborhood as well. The huge battles over energy between the mighty of the world accompany the efforts of the ruling classes of Israel, Saudi Arabian and Turkish to renegotiate their geopolitical and economic position and assert the leading dominant position in the wider region by intensifying their military-political aggression against neighboring peoples, developing autonomy tendencies and expanding the choices of their geopolitical orientations. These intercross with pending international problems in the region, such as the Palestinian, Cyprus and Kurdish problem, with the struggles of the peoples for freedom, peace and sovereignty, with the rights of the states of the region to make use of, in accordance with International Law and the UN Law of the Sea, of the natural wealth that has been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean sea.
It is within this context that the struggle of the Cypriot people is being waged for the solution of the 45 year old Cyprus Problem; a problem of invasion, occupation and colonization of 37% of our island’s territory by Turkey, as well as the division of Cyprus and its people. The passage of time has created serious and perhaps irreversible negative fait accompli on the ground, but also with regards the demographic composition of the island’s population, due to Turkey implementing its longstanding systematic policy of cultural-religious, economic and political assimilation of the occupied territories of Cyprus and of the Turkish Cypriot community itself. Turkey and the illegal regime in the territories under Turkish occupation are even proceeding to actions, such as setting in motion the colonization of the enclosed city of Famagusta – which has been kept fenced off since 1974 – in violation of the Resolutions of the UN Security Council that explicitly prohibit it.
However, the situation in Cyprus has deteriorated dramatically lately, given that the Erdogan government exploiting the absence of a negotiations procedure on the Cyprus problem after the collapse of the Crans Montana conference on Cyprus, has intensified its aggressive actions against Cyprus, engaging in war rhetoric, with violations – and now with illegal drillings – within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus and in doing so flagrantly violating International Law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Turkey as a matter of fact has still not signed. The reactions of the international community, including the EU, of which Cyprus is a member state, have so far been restricted to the issuing of verbal statements.
AKEL is waging the struggle against the dangerous direction that developments have taken by combating growing nationalism in these perilous conditions. We insist that the only way forward is the solution of the Cyprus problem with the termination of the occupation and the reunification of the island.
This is only the way to vindicate our country and reverse the imperialist crime committed in the summer of 1974 against Cyprus.
This is the only way that can guarantee the exploitation of Cyprus’ natural wealth to the benefit of all people as a whole, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, given that at the talks convergences were recorded between the two communities that solve these issues in a mutually beneficial way.
This is the only way that can enable the normalization of our country’s relations with Turkey and the delimitation of the EEZ between our countries, on the basis, of course, of international maritime law.
This is precisely the reason why we are constantly adamant on the need for the negotiations on the Cyprus problem to resume, on the basis of the Framework submitted by the UN Secretary General, which, among other things, provides for the abolition of the guarantees and intervention rights of Turkey, Britain and Greece over Cyprus and the rapid withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army from the island.
This Framework also provides for a solution to the internal/constitutional aspects of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality between the two communities, as prescribed in the relevant UN resolutions. This solution is the honorable compromise which has been agreed upon by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities since 1977 and has been adopted by the international community. With the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus from a unitary to a federal state, the unity and sovereignty of our homeland is safeguarded, the danger of the island being definitively partitioned is repelled, and the two communities of the island again become masters in their common home.
Any thoughts whatsoever by anyone for a change from this basis of the solution of the Cyprus problem and the abandonment of the parameters of the United Nations cannot be accepted. AKEL, which has at the forefront of its struggle the position “Cyprus: one homeland – one people” will never agree to a two-state solution or confederation.
As regards the current phase, AKEL insists that the leaders of the two communities, President Nikos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, must agree swiftly on the Terms of Reference, which will be confirmed at an informal conference in the presence of the guarantor powers in order to proceed to the beginning of substantive negotiations from the point where they had remained at Crans Montana.
The course of the Cyprus problem is not unrelated to what is happening as regards the Republic of Cyprus’ energy planning. As AKEL we are the only force on the island that has resolutely opposed the Anastasiades government’s strategy, which for a long period let time pass by on the Cyprus problem characterized by stagnation and inertia – or even worse, it engaged in discussions for solutions outside the agreed framework. It evidently had the illusion that the US and Israel or the involvement of energy company giants in the Cyprus EEZ would provide protection against Turkey, subsequently proceeding to the Republic of Cyprus’ energy program.
Pursuing this outlook, the government has totally reoriented the foreign policy of Cyprus. It has proclaimed Cyprus an “advanced outpost of the West” and “Israel’s shield”, forging strategic military co-operations with Israel, the US and other NATO forces, consenting to the use of the British bases on the territory of Cyprus for the launching of air strikes/raids in Syria and Iraq. It has proceeded to make overtures even to Saudi Arabia, while the idea of Cyprus joining NATO or its branch, the so-called “Partnership for Peace”, is proposed regularly. It is characteristic that as to the issue of the transfer of the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as well as the US recognition of Israeli illegal sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the Cypriot government has silently taken the side of the US and Israel, while numerous cases have been noted where inside the UN it is distancing itself from the traditional position of solidarity supported by Cyprus towards Palestine.
The latest example was the Menendez-Rubio bill approved by the US Senate dealing with the relations of Cyprus, Greece, Israel with the US, formalizing the alignment of these countries’ governments with the broader US plans for the Eastern Mediterranean. In reality, with this bill the United States demands from Cyprus and other countries – in the case of Cyprus the lifting of the US arms embargo imposed decades ago on Cyprus is given as a “reward” – to completely dismantle their relations with Russia.
AKEL has made and is making intense efforts to highlight that this policy is dangerous; that it violates principles and is based on illusions too. The insecurity that Greek Cypriots justifiably feel stemming from Turkish aggression will not be resolved by more militarization of the island, by having blind faith in the US, Israel and other NATO forces, let alone with Cyprus’ accession to NATO. Similarly, the security of the Turkish Cypriots cannot be sought in the army and guarantee rights of Turkey.
Peace is our security, both for Cyprus and the Cypriots. Peace first and foremost means the liberation and reunification of Cyprus and its people, the demilitarization of the island, getting rid of the foreign armies and “guardians”. It also means pursuing a foreign policy that must be based on principles, International Law, peace and solidarity with the struggling peoples. It means that Cyprus should be a bridge of peace for the peoples of the region and not an arena for the waging of foreign military exercises and a launching pad waging attacks.
For AKEL, the struggle for the liberation and reunification of our homeland constitutes its immediate strategic task as the Party of the Working Class and Working People of the whole of Cyprus. In our view, the reunification of the Cypriot people, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, of the territory, state, society and the economy of Cyprus is an essential precondition for setting the goal of socialist transformation in our country.
It is precisely this strategy that is embodied in our perception of the struggle for peace and the struggle for socialism, which are linked, but not necessarily identical, in the sense that the anti-imperialist and anti-war struggle embraces broader strata of our peoples. The anti-imperialist and anti-war struggle embraces not only communists and the left, but every working person, every young person, who wants and believes in peace, in the friendship of the peoples and the respect of International Law. That is to say, this struggle even embraces all those who do not share – or we haven’t yet managed to persuade – that viable and lasting peace lies in socialism, the overthrow and overcoming of the capitalist system which gives birth to and reproduces the causes of wars and rivalries because no version whatsoever of capitalism, no attempts to “reform” and “humanize” capitalism have succeeded in ridding it of wars and conflicts, as it hasn’t also freed it from poverty, unemployment, hunger, inequality and exploitation.
Socialism is the answer to our era’s challenges. It is the path for humanity’s future on the planet. The fact is of course that the socialist perspective is objectively the only alternative to today’s deadlocks. It will remain a mere theoretical position adhered to by Communists so long as the broad masses of the working people don’t see this perspective before them. And for that to happen, of course, it is above all necessary for the Communist movement itself – of each country, but also internationally – to solve its own weaknesses and shortcomings; to be in the frontline of the daily struggles for working people’s rights, for the protection of the environment, for democracy and peace. It must inspire and chart a path that links today’s struggles with the vision for the future.
This year’s International Meeting coincides with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Communist International. The Communist International represents a symbolic milestone in the history of the world communist movement. It is a child of the Great October Socialist Revolution and a product of the need for the strategic coordination and unity of the international workers movement. For sure, we cannot but acknowledge that there have also been problematic phenomena in the operation and functioning of the Communist International, which we need to analyze. However, its contribution to the strengthening of the newly founded Communist Parties around the world, to the development of internationalist solidarity with the shining example of the formation of the International Brigades on the side of the Spanish Republican Army, in the dissemination of Marxist theory with Marxist schools and publications, in the mutual exchange of information about the actions and struggles of the Parties, is undisputed. There may not be a Communist International today, but its legacy is unique and valuable.
The need for coordination and joint action between the Communist and Workers’ parties remains imperative today too. Perhaps it has never been so imperative as it is today. We acknowledge, of course, that a single strategy that should be adopted by all the Communist and Workers’ Parties is not feasible today; that there are minor and major differences between us as regards theory, but also on strategy and tactical matters.
At the same time however, we are obliged to see – and History will not forgive us if we don’t – what unites us, all that we can and must find common ground and joint action on. We are united in our belief in Marxism-Leninism, the class interpretation of the world and of History, the principles of proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialist struggle for peace, the struggle for socialism.
Therefore, with mutual respect, in a spirit of unity and comradeship, with the conduct of a dialogue based on arguments and an exchange of experience, we can build the unity in action of the Communist and Workers’ Parties around specific fundamental issues.
We can build joint action to express internationalist solidarity towards the struggling and tested peoples of the world, towards heroic Palestine, the peoples of Syria and Yemen, solidarity towards unyielding and defiant Cuba and Venezuela, towards the whole of Latin America.
We can forge joint action in our struggle on the European continent, against the EU of the monopolies and NATO, for another Europe of the Peoples and of Socialism. For solidarity with refugees and immigrants, against xenophobia and racism. In the struggle against wars and militarization, for nuclear disarmament and peace. We can do so by coordinating anti-capitalist action to save the environment. In the ideological confrontation with anti-communism and historical revisionism, with the vulgar resolution approved by the majority of the European Parliament being the most recent example.
The annual International Meetings are a unique and valuable arena for dialogue, understanding and joint action for the Communist and Workers’ parties. We believe that the unity of the International Meetings must be safeguarded as a cherished gain. At the same time, these Meetings should discuss and find ways to enhance and upgrade their work and practical results.
One idea that could be discussed in this direction would be to combine the holding of International Meetings with the waging of thematic discussions, where positions will be submitted and more specialized issues can be discussed. Given that no Party is flawless and doesn’t have the monopoly of truth, the exchange of views and experiences on more specific issues is imperative.
As AKEL, we are seeking to enrich our positions and analyses by drawing on the experiences and outlooks of other fraternal Parties. In particular, we are called upon to elaborate positions on contemporary issues.
We want to hear, for example, how each Party views the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution and its consequences for the capitalist economy and relations of production, but not just on these issues. Also, inter alia, on issues related to multiculturalism and national sovereignty, gender identity issues and new forms of family, the so-called right to euthanasia, policies on drugs.
How do we as an international movement promote Marxist scientific thought on the evolution of the world and humanity?
How do we as an international movement make use of the Internet and social media in our work and how do we counter the generalized filing of people and the systematic manipulation of people’s consciousness which is being applied by the giant internet companies?
We want different opinions and arguments to be heard because that’s how we believe we will learn from each other and gain from the exchange of views and take this one step forward.
The slogan of this year’s International Meeting simply and humbly embodies the essence of the message that must be heard. No matter the difficulties and disappointments, no matter how powerful the opponent may appear to be today, our struggle for peace and socialism can’t be suspended, it doesn’t lose its way and isn’t abandoned.
The struggle goes on!
 The termination of British colonialism on the island and the declaration of Cyprus independence (1960) was the result of an inter-NATO compromise between Greece, Turkey and Britain. Thus, together with the proclamation of the new state, three International Treaties came into force: The Treaty of Establishment provided, inter alia, for the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus as an independent and sovereign state, the maintenance by Britain of two “sovereign” bases and the provision, installations and facilities on the territory of Cyprus. The Treaty of Guarantee between the Republic of Cyprus and Britain, Greece and Turkey, on the other hand, provided that the three guarantor powers had the right to intervene collectively or unilaterally with the purpose of restoring the constitutional order on the island in the event of its overthrow. The Treaty of Alliance, under which Greece and Turkey undertook to repel any attack on the independence and territorial integrity of the state, and to this end military contingents were deployed on the island.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13